Following the UK Government’s announcement that cinemas and bingo halls could reopen in England from 4th July 2020, the devolved administration in Northern Ireland has also confirmed that bingo clubs may return under the latest NI lockdown relaxation.
On 9th July, the Stormont Executive agreed that bingo halls, gyms, and cinemas could reopen on Friday, 10th July, with outdoor horse racing, sporting events, and outdoor competitive games (providing that there are no spectators present) allowed to resume from July 11th.
We’re sure that the decision offers bingo lovers across Northern Ireland some relief, although the club experience is likely to be slightly different due to additional COVID-19 safety measures such as Perspex screens at tills and entry points, spacing of tables, and one-way systems being introduced.
But what if you live in Wales or Scotland?
Well, so far, we know that Scotland is moving to Phase 3 of its planned easing of lockdown measures, which means that pubs and restaurants can reopen from Wednesday, 15th July 2020. Plus, from 10th July, up to 15 people from as many as 5 different households can meet outdoors provided they continue to physically distance.
Beauticians, nail bars, and universities and colleges can also start to open back up from July 22nd. However, it will not be known until the next Scottish Government update on 30th July whether bingo halls, indoor gyms, live outdoor and indoor events, non-essential offices, and contact sport will be allowed to follow suit.
For those living in Wales, there’s potentially an even longer wait in store as pubs and restaurants have only been given the green light to reopen with outdoor spaces only from 13th July.
Although non-essential retail businesses in Wales have been open since 22nd June, and the “stay local” rule dropped from 6th July, the country is still partway between the Amber and Green stages of its phased approach to the easing of lockdown restrictions.
At the moment, the First Minister is indicating that the Welsh Government are hoping to ease one restriction every Monday. As hairdressers are next in line (for July 13th), it’s possible that entertainment venues like cinemas and bingo halls could be pencilled in for July 20th.